Press Release: AE urges South Sudanese to embrace Christ’s wonderful message of reconciliation

This Easter week African Enterprise International (AE) is holding a series of events in Juba as part of its Peace and Reconciliation Initiative in South Sudan.

The following events will be held in Juba before Easter Sunday:

April 17th/ Military & Police Officers Peace & Reconciliation Workshop

April 19th / Central Equatorial State Reconciliation Dialogue Breakfast

April 18th – 19th/ Clergy Trauma, Peace & Reconciliation Training

April 18th – 19th / Youth Leaders Peace & Reconciliation Forum

AE’s CEO Rev Dr. Stephen Mbogo said: “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. Therefore AE hopes that as the world celebrates the risen Christ this Easter many communities in South Sudan will also experience afresh the wonderful and liberating power of Christ.”

On top of the above programs, the AE Team will host an interactive radio broadcast on Good Friday. The phone-in will give the opportunity to thousands of South Sudanese listeners to express their views on the root cause of the division in their society whilst making constructive contribution to the debate of Peace and Reconciliation.

South Sudanese in diaspora attend AE Trauma & Healing Workshop in Nairobi

South Sudanese in diaspora attend AE Trauma & Healing Workshop in Nairobi

The Youth Leaders Peace & Reconciliation Forum will also be extended to young people in public schools. Therefore, AE Team will conduct outreaches at various learning institutions in the South Sudanese capital.

The AE team will address a diversity of audiences, speaking engagements for the week will be held at various venues in different Church denominations including the Catholic and Episcopal Church of Sudan.

The main objective for this outreach to various community groups in South Sudan is to contribute to the ongoing efforts of Peace and Reconciliation in this strategic area of the African continent.

The work of African Enterprise in South Sudan began in the early 80’s and more recently following the Macedonian call from Political and Church leaders in South Sudan at the end of 2013 AE is now continuing its ministry of Peace & Reconciliation, Trauma & Healing with the South Sudanese.

Outlines of AE’s main events in Juba this Easter Week

Military and police Leaders Forum:   High levels of stress are clearly expressed amongst those in the uniformed services so the AE Team will offer biblical counselling at the forum. Issues of reconciliation would also be addressed alongside issues of stress and repentance.

Central Equatoria Leaders forum: This forum will address the burden and weight of responsibility borne by the state members of parliament and government workers in view of the current conflict. Modes of responding to conflict stress and reconciliation would be elaborated. This state event would act as a prototype for possible intervention in some of the other adversely affected states.

Church Leaders Reconciliation Forum: This forum would seek to address the need for reconciliation among Church leaders. In most cases here in South Sudan, the shepherds are also in need of healing.

Youth Leaders Peace & Reconciliation Forum: During this event the youth will be given the opportunity to express their challenges and give their views on the ongoing debate on Peace and reconciliation in their nation.

 

Testimonies Healing Wounds from the Past

A Trauma & Healing Workshop backed up by Prayer

A Trauma & Healing Workshop backed up by Prayer

Rev Ruta Justin (in the middle) of Episcopal Church of Sudan said: “ I have been inspired by the teachings I got from this workshop and not only me, even the friends we came with, they don’t look the same as we came in the morning. Everybody is going with a smile on his or her face, so I am grateful to God. African Enterprise please continue to organize this type of meetings because we need these teachings!

Tijwog Agwet (in the middle), Former Presidential Adviser said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank African Enterprise Ministries as they have been effective in the area of Peace and Reconciliation throughout  Africa and in different nations.

Participants from a  wide range of  backgrounds

Participants from a wide range of backgrounds

I do appreciate AE’s visit to South Sudan as they met with the government, the Church and Community Leaders, I commend them for being peace brokers and for their willingness to teach people on trauma healing and other leadership counselling.”

A Time of Fellowship and Reconciliation

A Time of Fellowship and Reconciliation

Malish Jackson (on the right), South Sudanese Student at Church Army Africa said: “Personally, from today onwards I am emotionally healed. I will not be disturbed again by inner hurting because we know God is in control.”

Healing Wounds From The Past

The recent conflict that rocked the nation of South Sudan has left a high toll of deaths and driven many people out of their homes. The displaced communities have sporadically found refuge in neighboring countries, mainly Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.

Rev Paul Ruot Kov, South Sudanese Church Leader said: “The problem caught people by surprise nobody knew it would affect the civilian population. Everyone ran away and found refuge wherever He or She could go. God is guiding and helping South Sudanese on the road to Uganda, to Kenya and some even fled to Ethiopia.”

Kenyans have seen an influx of South Sudanese refugees at their borders but also here in Nairobi, the capital.

As part of the South Sudan National Reconciliation Initiative, African Enterprise International (AEI) is organising a number of outreaches in Juba and Boor but is also looking into effective ways in helping South Sudanese refugees in Kenya and Uganda in an effort to help rebuild their nation.

Tijwog Agwet, Former Presidential Adviser said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank African Enterprise Ministries as they have been effective in the area of Peace and Reconciliation throughout Africa and in different nations. I do appreciate AE’s visit to South Sudan as they met with the government, the Church and Community Leaders, I commend them for being peace brokers and for their willingness to teach people on trauma healing and other leadership counselling.”

The Trauma Healing, Peace & Reconciliation workshop for South Sudanese refugees took place here in Nairobi on March 29 at All Saints Cathedral. 101 South Sudanese in diaspora participated to the meetings, it was an interactive and practical workshop loaded with prayer sessions and counselling and all participants stayed the whole day.

The mobilization was conducted by AEE Kenya Community Transformation officer William Muchiri, in consultation with various South Sudanese pastors.

Rev John Phillip Omott was also instrumental in helping to bring together South Sudanese from different tribes. He confirmed that: We made sure that the invitation list for this event was as inclusive as possible in order to bring South Sudanese from all tribes together.”

Attendees were also from a cross section of age, we had elderly people but also many youths from theology schools. In order to best communicate with its audience AEI called for various interpreters, they included Pastor Abdulazziz and Queen Makalele of South Sudan Radio.

AEI International Team Leader, Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo opened the workshop with prayer emphasizing on the Biblical basis for forgiveness and Reconciliation.

The introduction was followed by a Questions, Answers & Prayers session led by Dr Gershon Mwiti a specialist in counselling in trauma healing for war torn communities.

The prayer session gave the opportunity to the participants to share their burdens and it was the highlight of the workshop as many sobbed and publicly confessed their grievances.

Rev Ruta Justin of Episcopal Church of Sudan said: “ I have been inspired by the teachings I got from this workshop and not only me, even the friends we came with, they don’t look the same as we came in the morning. Everybody is going with a smile on his or her face, so I am grateful to God.  African Enterprise please continue to organize this type of meetings because we need these teachings!”

The prayers sessions were backed up by solid biblical teachings provided by pastors and academics.

Psychologist Rahab Gatuci of Mount Kenya University dealt with the topic of Trauma and Healing.

Scholar Philips Katutu of Nairobi Daystar University also shed light on the key topic of the day, Peace & Reconciliation.

Malish Jackson, South Sudanese Student at Church Army Africa said: “Personally, from today onwards I am emotionally healed. I will not be disturbed again by inner hurting because we know God is in control.”

The lunch hour and tea breaks were also golden moments for participants of various South Sudanese tribes to interact.

AEE Kenya Team Leader Rev Edward Ngaira wittily shared his vision for the It South Sudan National Reconciliation Initiative. He concluded the event with a fervent prayer for the healing of the nation of Sudan as he commissioned the participants to go and train and facilitate healing among other affected South Sudanese in their host churches.

 

The Oscar trial and our thoughts

The Oscar trial and our thoughts

 By Michael Cassidy on March 11, 2014 11:01 am http://gatewaynews.co.za/the-oscar-trial-and-our-thoughts/

Not only South Africa, but the whole world it seems, is caught up in this sad and lamentable saga of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

The whole case of innocent or guilty rests on what his “thoughts” were at the time of the violent, tragic happening.  What was in his mind?  Were his “thoughts’ focussed into shooting an intruder, or reacting wildly and irrationally to provocative things said to him during a lover’s quarrel?

The trial is all about thoughts. And I guess all of us would be pretty stressed out if we were put on trial for the thoughts which proceeded through our minds on any given day.  Or how would we feel if our thoughts through any given week were projected onto a TV screen on Sunday night for national viewing?

To reflect speculatively on such a scenario makes us quickly realise that our thought-world and our minds constitute the major battleground of moral and spiritual life.

Hidden world
A recent reading of Dallas Willard’s classic The Renovation of the Heart has set me thinking much and afresh about the hidden world of our thoughts, feelings, ambitions, and motives.  Willard notes that “As we first turned away from God in our thoughts, so it is in our thoughts that the first movements toward the renovation of the heart occur.  Thoughts are the place where we

can and must begin to change.  There the light of God first begins to move upon us through the word of Christ, and there the divine Spirit begins to direct our will to more and more thoughts that can provide the basis for choosing to realign ourselves with God and His way.  The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we will allow or require our minds to dwell upon.”

Obviously our thoughts occupy and control the motivational centre of our lives, utterances and behaviour.  “They determine”, adds Willard, “the orientation of everything we do and evoke the feelings that frame our world and motivate our actions.  Interestingly, you can’t evoke thoughts by feeling a certain way, but you can evoke and to some degree control feelings by directing your thoughts.  Our power over our thoughts is of great and indispensable assistance in directing and controlling our feelings, which themselves are not directly under the guidance of our will.  We cannot just choose our feelings.”

So coming back to the Oscar trial, perhaps it also puts us on trial in terms of our own thoughts, and thought processes, and feelings, even as the media thrust all the trial’s gory details before our minds.  What do we find ourselves thinking?  Feeling?

For one thing, I know I want to protect myself in measure from having my mind fixated or inundated via our nightly news services with every unsavoury detail presented now to a worldwide viewership.  So I’ve told my wife I do not want every night to watch the front-end of the news headlines which will for sure be the Oscar trial.  My mind doesn’t need that, and won’t benefit from that unnecessary contamination day after day.

I have likewise urged the Editor of our local newspaper not to make the trial the daily headline story.  And he has agreed.  Today it was on page eight.  Thank you, Sir.

Then reflect for a moment on the world delight that instead of the trial being held in camera, it would be televised in full for any who wanted to watch all day and every day.  This creates opportunity for an orgy of highly unhealthy and fleshly voyeurism for people who will do just that – watch all day and every day – feeding their minds on either glee over a wretched man’s troubles, and lusting for full legal retribution, or else vicariously entertaining and feeding hidden inner and perhaps secret impulses of their own related to sex or violence, or both.

Christian response
So how should the Christian respond?  First of all, I believe with prayer for the accused, whether guilty or not guilty, and for both the Steenkamp and Pistorius families.  They have been overtaken by an epic tragedy of Greek or Shakespearian proportions.  With this prayer will go both compassion and empathy.

Then we pray for all involved in the formal legal processes for true justice, perhaps tempered with mercy, to prevail.  And certainly no miscarriage of justice.

Then as South Africans our thoughts need to focus responsibly into why South Africa is such a violent society.  What are the root causes?  How can these be addressed?  How can the minds of violent people be tamed, controlled, changed, reached and converted to Christ?

Finally, we have to refocus back into ourselves, our own minds, our own thoughts, our own secret worlds and ask God to help us, perhaps by new and determined initiatives of memorising scripture, to “set (our) minds on the things of the Spirit.”  Because “to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).  Put differently, “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK about these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Yes, Lord, help.  Please help us capture all of our thoughts for you.

 

 

 

AESA Outreach to Pretoria University

Michael Cassidy,  Ministry Associates Greg Smerdon Robert Botha and Christian leaders at the University of Pretoria

Michael Cassidy, Ministry Associates Greg Smerdon, Robert Botha and Christian leaders at the University of Pretoria

Christian Campus Leaders in the University of Pretoria, South Africa’s largest contact university with an enrolment of over 57,000 students, have invited African Enterprise South Africa, under the leadership of Michael Cassidy, to conduct a Christian mission to the University from August 10th – 15th this year.

Greg Smerdon, AE Ministry Associate and former AESA Team Leader, along with AE Ministry Associate, Robert Botha, met this week in Pretoria with a significant representative group of campus leaders. It is this group, with others shortly to be added, which has issued the invitation and AESA has responded positively.

Michael, Greg, and AESA will build a strong and stellar team of associate missioners drawn from around South Africa on the basis of their particular skills, capacities and abilities. The team will include scientists, Christian sports heroes, philosophers, Christian apologists, as well as Christian musical and mime artists, dramatists and dancers.

The mission will take the form of daily lectures, symposia, debates and artistic performances. There will also be an outreach via stratified evangelism to academic and other staff members. The mission will also include both the Medical and Education campuses of the university.

Pretoria University was founded in 1908, and being the administrative capital of South Africa, the university is of great strategic importance.

“I am absolutely delighted about this development”, said AE Founder and Interim AESA Team Leader, Michael Cassidy, “not only because of Pretoria University’s strategic significance, but because I believe this has the potential to open doors afresh for AESA to all the campuses of the country. We really covet your prayers for this new development and exciting venture.”

Arusha for Christ, a possible East African Leadership Initiative

AE’s mission is to evangelise the cities of Africa in Word and deed in partnership with the Church. Our stratified approach to evangelism helps us to reach out to various communities and people group. Currently, we are working in West Africa in Abidjan.

The choice of cities for our evangelism outreaches are inspired by the leading of the Spirit and we also target strategic cities or towns in Africa by using various feasibility studies usually done through our ‘Caleb & Joshua’ visits. Our 2014 Abidjan Leadership Initiative will eventually be an open door for us to reach the entire West Africa region.

With the vision to impact the entire continent for Christ in mind, AE International is also contemplating a similar meeting in East Africa.

AE Chairman Jonathan Addison, AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo, the AEE Kenya Team Leader Rev Edward Ngaira

AE Team with Tanzanian leaders

Consequently from 28th February- 4th March 2014, AE Chairman Jonathan Addison, AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo, the AEE Kenya Team Leader Rev Edward Ngaira and Missions team joined AE Tanzania Team Leader Wilfred Mmari and his team in Arusha to explore  the possibility of a launch of an East African Leadership Initiative. The vision is to help train and build leaders with Christ like character.

Arusha is a strategic city in East Africa because it’s the headquarters of many international organisations including the East African Community (EAC).

AE Chairman Jonathan Addison, AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo with  Tanzanian leaders

AE Chairman Jonathan Addison, AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo with Tanzanian leaders

The AE Team met with various leaders in Arusha City. They included key local business leaders, pastors, senior Church leaders, heads of various organizations such as the UN, the EAC, World Vision and Compassion International.

The goal is to work in partnership with other Christian organisations and likeminded stakeholders to impact the leadership of East Africa thus exalting the Kingdom of God in Africa.

After these meetings, AE Chairman Jonathan Addison and the ITL joined  Team Leader Wilfred Mmari and his team for fellowship. The aim of this meeting was to encourage AE Tanzania and to also discuss the findings of the recent AE strategic review.

True Friends in Deed in time of Need

AE Malawi’s festive period was marked by a series of graduation ceremonies. It started with the Foxfires, followed by the Tailoring School project for vulnerable women. Some of the events even made the headlines of a national newspaper.

IMG_0080 (400x300) copyThen there was the random act of kindness by the children at St Paul’s British Primary School in Brussels. It’s a story of friendship
between children in affluent Belgium and the orphans at Phereni, a suburb of Lilongwe.

Children at St Paul’s British Primary School have over the years sent gifts to AE Malawi. AE Europe Director Lynn Nwagbara affirmed:
“The children at the school raise money by donating their pocket money, holding cake sales, making and selling items, doing chores at home and then put it into a big plastic urn found in the school foyer which is called, ‘SMALL CHANGE – BIG CHANGE’. The children have really taken to heart their counterparts in Phereni and often asking how each of the orphans are doing.”

Last Christmas, they made a moving gesture by providing money for the shopping list of six orphans and their guardians. Project Manager Magret's_drawings 001Patrick Pangani said: “These children rarely have access to the bare necessities of life so the slice of beef, bread, margarine, rice and orange squash were a real blessing! This reminds me of Luke 3 v 11 where Jesus urges us to be generous.”

The shopping list included: 1 kilograms of rice, 2 kilograms of beef, 4 kilograms of beans, 1 loaf of bread, margarine, sugar, salt, 2 litres of cooking oil, 2 litres of orange squash, biscuits, sweets, soap, washing powder.

AE Team Prepares for South Sudan Outreach in Prayer

African Enterprise’s Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo and Rev Edward Ngaira met with Church leaders in Nairobi in order to share AE’s burden for South Sudan and to inform them about AE’s upcoming outreaches to government officials, the clergy and youth leaders in Juba.  South Sudanese leaders in diaspora were also present at the event, so their Kenyan counterparts took time to pray for them.

Rev Mbogo said: “We see these brothers from South Sudan as a contact point for various leaders in the nation of Sudan. We all know the importance of leadership so we pray and hope for healing in their nation. We hope to lead them to light instead of darkness, killings and self-centeredness leadership so they can overcome by the counsel of God.”

AE leaders & Nairobi pastors pray for South  Sudanese leaders

AE leaders & Nairobi pastors pray for South Sudanese leaders

Tijwog Agwet, former presidential adviser to the South Sudanese government said: “There is something about Kenya that pulls people to its shores whenever there are problems in East Africa. Thank you Kenyan brothers and sisters for standing with us in these difficult times. I commend African Enterprise for its great vision to help educate our leadership to cultivate peace.”

 

Kenya Synonym of Refuge for South Sudanese

AE’s fact-finding mission to Juba last month has been a great doorway for its intended outreach to the leadership of South Sudan. Not only did it pave the way for collaboration between AE, the secular and ecclesiastical leadership in South Sudan but it also opened avenues for AE to work with existing structures established by the Kenyan government.
Given the social and economic ties between Kenya and South Sudan, governments of both countries have built a strong friendship over the years, to such an extent that some parts of Kenya have become places of refuge for those fleeing in the aftermath of the conflict that claimed many lives in South Sudan.
One of the special envoys of Kenya to South Sudan said: “ It’s in the interest of Kenya to help stabilize the situation in South Sudan, we tend to take care of their intellectual and physical needs, but interacting with AE, I feel they can add to the spiritual healing of belligerents and civilians by providing trauma and healing counselling without discrimination.

African Enterprise 2014 Outreach to South Sudan

AE is in South Sudan this week for a leadership outreach. The AE team made up of Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo and Rev Dr Edward Ngaira got to Juba on the 10th and will leave on 15th January.
Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo said: “AE has strong links with churches and politicians in South Sudan given our previous work in the country.

AE ITL  Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo @ South Sudan Council of Churches prayer & fasting event

AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo @ South Sudan Council of Churches prayer & fasting event

In the aftermath of the recent conflict some of our friends asked for AE to come to Juba to assist in the process of reconciliation by working alongside Church leaders to mediate between the various political factions.”

AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo & AE Kenya Rev Dr Edward Ngaira with Church  leaders in South Sudan

AE ITL Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo & AE Kenya Rev Dr Edward Ngaira with Church leaders in South Sudan

The main purpose of this South Sudan Reconciliation Initiative is to work with Members of Parliament (MPs) and Church leaders towards reconciling the warring factions of South Sudan following the November/December 2013 political crisis.

A time for prayer and reconciliation

A time for prayer and reconciliation

Rev Dr Stephen Mbogo and Rev Dr Edward Ngaira will be gathering Church leaders from various denominations in order to promote healing, peace and reconciliation. The participants’ leaders will represent most of the local tribes in the community.
AE Kenya TL with South Sudanese youth

AE Kenya TL with South Sudanese youth

They will also focus on the youth, because there is a need to inculcate good values which are necessary for a cohesive society. Such values are limited among the older generation in which tribalism remains very evident.